The one where I talk about how we survive road trips

Road trips aren’t my thing.

Even the short ones.

But when your families live at least 4 hours away (in opposite directions of each other) sometimes you have to put on the big girl pants, grit your teeth, and get on the road.

When Little S was a teeny weeny human, it wasn’t too bad (although I likely would have disagreed with that statement at the time). We’d stop every few hours to nurse and if she was crying we would drive on the bumpy side of the road and that usually helped…no big deal.

Now that she’s a full on talking, strong-willed toddler, we aren’t always as lucky.

Unfortunately, there are times that no amount of apple juice or bumpy roads will help console her.

And to be perfectly honest, I can’t really blame her.

Seriously, if it were socially acceptable for a grown woman to kick + scream + cry over being stuck in a car for hours on end, I’d be right there with her.

So how do we survive when the toys + books have lost their appeal and she starts screaming “I wanna get out!” and there are still 3 hours left of driving?

Easy.

We set aside all of those things we swore we would never do back when we were the perfect parents of ZERO children.

We give in.

(I mean, usually we’re on the way to the grandparents house so I know she won’t hear “no” the entire time we’re there…what damage could a few extra hours of this really do?)

Kidding. Well, not really. We have a few road trip survival rules we live by and they require us to be a lot more flexible and relaxed about what we give in to.

1.) Have a plan for when the toys + books stop working their magic

We always start off so hopeful and things usually look promising for about 5 minutes, then the scream and trying to unbuckle the seats begins… so for us, plans B + C involve handing over the the iPad, iPhone, well, anything really.

“Sure. You can empty out all of the contents of my purse. Go for it kiddo.”

2.) Snacks.

So.many.snacks. (Yes, even the ones that are full of sugar and we’ll likely regret giving her later.)

Because gummies are magic in our world.

3.) Songs.

Make sure you have access to all of the favorites and even the ones that are potential favorites because you never know. Also be prepared for so many repeats of the same.dang.songs.

“Why of course we’ll play ‘Wheels on the Bus’ for the billionth time. We love this song.”

4.) More snacks.

Yes, lunch/dinner is probably totally ruined at this point…but remember, we are in survival mode here.

5.) Get creative.

Find anything that is remotely amusing and maximize it.

“Look at the windshield wipers! Whoa, let’s clean up the buggies with the washer fluid and wipers!”

It’s survival mode, friend. No judgement on doing what you have to do to make it through.

The great thing about road trips is that they [eventually] end. I will warn you though, don’t look at the clock to often…it tends to move much slower than you would like it to.

Hope you all had wonderful + safe + happy travels throughout the holidays 🙂

-S

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The one where I show you the C non-smile, Nashville Edition

There is a well known fact in my social circle that C doesn’t smile in photos.

I don’t know if that’s he doesn’t like to or that he doesn’t realize that he isn’t…either way it makes for a whole bunch of pictures that make it look like he hates his life. Ironically, he is actually one of the most positive + friendly + happy people that I know, but something about him taking a picture makes him get a little Chandler Bing on me.

For your amusement I have decided to showcase the ones from our most recent family trip.

So here it is, the C non-smile, Nashville Edition:

I swear we like each other…it just doesn’t get documented in photos.

-S

The one where I talk about what’s in the travel backpack

Keeping a kiddo entertained.

To me, that is single-handedly the most difficult part about traveling with a toddler.

Well, at least MY toddler.

Although I am totally okay with iPadding it up on the plane, I usually try to save that as a last resort.

Why?

Truth be told,  I’m just worried I’ll stick it in the pocket of the seat in front of me when she gets bored of it and then I’ll forget it on the plane.

Not a huge revelation, but there are enough things to manage so I just prefer playing with things on the plane that won’t be missed if they get forgotten.

So here is what was in our backpack this time around:

Stephen Joseph Backpack: So cute and functional. Only downside is that it doesn’t have a handy side pocket for her water bottle.

Tegu Blocks: These are amazing! They are magnetic so it limits the risk of a runaway block on the plane and it comes with a felt bag to keep it all contained + organized when not in use.

Fisher Price Let’s Go to the Zoo/ Vamos al Zoologico Lift the Flap Book: We’re practicing our bilingual skills and Little S is a huge fan of animals so this book is a win-win for mama and the tiny human.

Learn to Tie Laces Activity Board: My mom found this at the dollar store and even though we are nowhere near lace tying, homegirl loves stringing things through…this just helps us (i.e. me) avoid dealing with a bag of beads while we travel 🙂

Little Ones Think Sticker Skill Book: My mother-in-law found a few of these at her local JoAnn Fabric and they are amazing. Best part? When the stickers are all gone she colors scribbles on the pages and then we get to throw it away. Lighter load for the tots backpack? Always a good thing.

Plain Notebook and Stickers: I don’t travel without stickers. Lots and lots of stickers. My girl loves them and I let her practice all of the sticking + peeling + more sticking + more peeling that she wants. I like to put packing tape on several of the pages in the notebook to help the stickers keep their “stick” since there is a lot of sticking and peeling that happens.

Any easy go-to travel favorites y’all have? I’d love to know!

-S

The one where I talk about our weekend in Nashville

Flying solo to Nashville was much much easier than my flight to Montreal.

Most likely because there wasn’t a layover, the timing was better, and it was only about a 90 minute flight.

Everything I knew about Nashville prior to this trip was learned from the TV show. And yes, we totally stalked some of the filming locations during the tiny human’s car naps (more on that in another post), but here were some of my favorite things.

The Hermitage
This was Andrew Jackson’s home and the teacher in me loves all of these historical sites and the random info you get from the tour guides.

Folliage y’all. This Houstonian is all.about.the.leaf.change.

Squint central, I know… but we’d left the sunnies in the car because it was raining when we arrived. I should’ve known the sun would pop out right when we wanted to take a pic.

This is where Andrew Jackson (and his family) is buried. Creepy, but cool.

Ryman Auditorium
This was the original home of the Grand ‘Ol Opry (the Opry is actually there temporarily right now). Totally worth doing the tour here.

This is the happiest C looked in any of these selfie-style pics. I have a whole post dedicated to his non-smile coming up, don’t you worry.

Peg Leg Porker
Because food is important. This place won all of the mama votes when my picky eater devoured anything we put on her plate.

The Pharmacy
Good food + great atmosphere + kid friendly= lunchtime perfection. Little S even got a lesson in stick figures from Daddy.

Centennial Park/Parthenon
We had a super fun morning walking around Centennial Park, looking at the ducks, and of course swinging (because that is the toddler’s jam right now). Oh yeah, we also toured the Parthenon…well the American replica of it at least.

All of the traveling and all this kid wanted was a good park and all of the swinging.

We visited the weekend after the CMA’s so there were still red carpets and party tents up everywhere. So, why not roll that stroller down the red carpet?

Broadway Street
Not a whole lot of nightlife sites on this trip because, you know, tiny human and all…but we did walk down Broadway at night. There is music blaring from every single doorway you pass by. We did manage to visit the rooftop at Acme Feed & Seed (not actually a feed store) to get a good view of the Nashvegas strip from there.

It was a great trip and we had so, so, so much fun visiting!

-S

The One Where I Give My Friday Favorites || Vol. 6

1. Because mom-life

This has been my mantra lately…sleepless nights and early mornings.

2. Because tiny humans

Great idea using contact paper + leaves to keep the littles entertained this fall.

3. Because fashion

Easy + quick + intentional hairstyles are so my jam right now.

4. Because travel

These travel journals are an amazing way for kids to document their travels.

5. Because health + fitness

I’m a big fan of make-ahead oatmeal smoothies- some recipes + ideas I use can be found here.

Enjoy your weekend!

-S

The one where I talk about our weekend in Montreal

I didn’t realize how much I would LOVE Montreal.

It was amazing.

The weather was perfect and we were able to spend some quality time with some of our amazing college friends! Win. Win.

Since our friends have a tiny human of their own, they planned a great, toddler-friendly weekend for us. So fun! Here are some of the highlights.

And by highlights I mean: you need to do this stuff if you ever visit 😉

Village Cafe

A sweet little coffee shop PERFECT for mommas + toddlers. They have a little play area near the tables so the mommas could sit and chat while the little ones played. It was beautiful.
(It’s the little things, right?)

Parc du Mont-Royal

As a born + raised Texan I was all.about.the.leaves.changing.  It’s not something we really see here. To the best of my recollection most of our foliage goes from blooming to non-existent. Just kind of skips all of the color change. No better place to see it on this trip than from the Parc du Mont-Royal. Apparently there are several methods to get to the top (driving, biking, running, etc.), but we took the stairs. Little S was a big fan of this and made it up a good way before she looked at me and said “Mommy hold you?”
Oh, there is also a totes legit view of the city from the top.

Vergers & Cidrerie Denis Charbonneau

Apple picking day!  This might have been might favorite thing ever.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but totally, totally fun and worth doing.

Oratoire Saint Joseph 
This was kind of a happy accident. We were driving somewhere else (after apple picking) when C saw the dome and asked our friends what it was. After looking it up we realized it was something we definitely wanted to check out and even though Google Maps didn’t really want to get us there, we found a way. Extra happy coincidence that we got there as the sun was going down so it was extra-amazing-view-time from the balcony.
Also, there were lots of stairs and the little apparently is stair obsessed. Who knew? She was a big fan  and anytime she’d see more stairs instead of sighing about it like the grownups in the house she would point and say “‘nother stairs!” 

We were only there for a weekend, but these main sights along with walking around the city made me feel like we really got to enjoy some of the best that the city had to offer. Overall it was definitely worth the drama of flying solo with Little S.

-S

Also: Photo credit to my talented friend, Jim Gibbs. Pretty sure he took most of these because C was just not cutting it as a photographer.

The one where I give my Friday favorites || Vol. 5

1. Because mom-life

Sometimes mama needs a drink and it’s still hot in H-town

2. Because tiny humans

I’m always looking for toddler-approved recipes. We’ll be trying this one soon!

3. Because fashion

Working on this skill myself 🙂 

4. Because travel

Seriously thinking of buying one of these

5. Because health + fitness

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
-S